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tv   All In With Chris Hayes  MSNBC  May 21, 2013 8:00pm-9:01pm PDT

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over the years it is true. >> and that is the last word from moore, oklahoma tonight. kris, thomas, thanks for joining me. chris hayes is up next. good evening. from new york i'm chris hayes. we know more about the path of the tornado that devastated this community and the scope of the damage visited upon this town and we know more tonight of the amazing acts of courage by teachers and the two schools crushed by the storm. the good news today and it's nice to report good news, initial reports of fatalities have for now been cut in half. the medical examiner having placed the number of dead at 51, this morning revised that number to 24 confirmed deaths. a spokesman explained some
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victims were counted twice in the chaos. the monster storm had has been now calculated at ef-5. its force is estimated to have been 600 times greater than that of the atomic bomb that exploded in hiroshima. it touched down just 16 minutes after the first siren was sounded. just four minutes later it had reached category 4. the track was eerily similar to the 1999 tornado that struck the area. as we see this time lapsed video of the tornado's progression, it was on the ground for 17 miles, creating a path of carrage that was at its greatest 2.3 miles wide. 237 people are reported injured,
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including 70 children and 34,000 people have lost power in moore, oklahoma city and other affected areas. at the plaza towers elementary school, the search for survivors continued today. oklahoma's governor mary fallin made an on-site tour. >> it was surreal coming upon the school because there was no school. there was just debris. and it was piled very high. it was hard to tell what was there. >> fema director craig furgate said search and rescue will continue until everyone is found and reports of neighbors helping neighbor are already pouring in. >> we pulled a lot of people out. a will the of them are elderly people. we pulled some younger people out, too. some didn't make it, some did or most of them did that we were involved in. i kicked a door in to save this one elderly lady and her grand
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kids and stuff and she had just gotten inside the house when it hit. she was still in the living room, the whole living room was just obliterated. i don't know how she made it but she did, thank god. >> president obama having last night declared a state of emergency in oklahoma today said oklahoma will get everything it needs. >> the people of moore should know that their country will remain on the ground, there for them, beside them, as long as it takes. >> today also produced as it would in the age of instant iwitness videos more ivideos of the storm. the state emergency operation center remains activated. joining me right now from moore, oklahoma, msnbc's thomas roberts. i see folks in the background. we've been seeing them all day.
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what are people doing in the aftermath? are they returning to their homes? are they out of the area? what are folks trying to could tod -- do today on the day after? >> it's a contradiction here in oak okay because the evening is absolutely perfect. as we look around, it's complete devastation. a little after 24 hours nou we know that that tornado is categorized as an ef-5. there's a young couple who rode out the storm in their bath tub. that's amber, the blond, behind me. she's talking about the bath tub, which is right to the right-hand side of that toilet, if you can make that out over my shoulder. she was in that bath tub with her husband, nathan and her three little kids. they have two 4-year-old twins, one 6-year-old daughter. they she said they got in the bath tub with the kids, covered
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with couch pillos and put a blanket over that. they emermged completely unscathed and they claimed out and went on to family. earlier today it was rainey and very windy. some people did come out to survey the damage early on and then it got a little worse where people just fled. now in the evening hours it gotten really nice. we've been here all day. this is the first time we've seen nathan and amber come back. lots of people have come back along this street as well. for amber, she's trying to find something for her 6-year-old daughter that can claim as a memento. her twins walked away with their blankets. her daughter was at the plaza towers school but she went to the early classes and her mom
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had already picked her up. we asked if she was aware of any of her friends that may have perished and she's not. they say seven plus students may have died there. you had brought up the tally in and of itself. they had brought that number, the earlier reports were much higher, but it does remain at 2424/right now. as we break down that number, it 20 people in oklahoma city -- excuse me, 20 people in moore, 4 people in oklahoma city and 9 of the victims are children. the first victim identified is a little 9-year-old girl, a student at plaza tourers elementary school. it really is devastating. i had an opportunity to walk around the neighborhood and talk to everybody. they're so grateful they have their loved ones and they were able to walk away mostly unscathed. it is heartbreaking to see people coming back. amber, i asked her, they were
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homeowners here for the last 12 years. we asked if she wanted to rebuild. she said she doesn't know. she just knows wherever she does rebuild, she wants a basement. >> and bring that bath tub. >> great minds think alike. i asked her about the bath tub, if she would take it to the new house and she said she might. >> that's a keeper. yesterday's massive tornado was officially categorized as an f-5 in at least one area. joining me to put that in perspective and demonstrate the strength is paul douglas, founder of weather nation tv. here's my question, paul. this question is of a person who is not a meteorologist and doesn't quite necessarily really understand in a deep way how a tornado works. i do not -- i just genuinely don't understand the images of destruction that i'm seeing. you can look at hurricanes going
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through areas and floods and actually we've been covering disasters a lot because we live in a disaster-prone age. but i can't get my head around how the conditions are produced that create a storm powerful enough to do the thing that we are all now watching the aftermath of. >> it's a great question, chris. and there is a disconnect. the united states is ground zero for tornadoes. 90% of all twisters worldwide form here. the same attributes that make our nation so beautiful, the geographical features, disparities, the contrast, also can conjure up this witch's brew of meteorologistogical ingredients. it's like predicting a sneeze. they're atmospheric hiccups. we can tell when conditions are right but trying to predict
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where one will touch down and what the ultimate intensity will be is fraught with peril. we're not there yet. a tornado isn't so much an object as it is a process, one that takes many hours to unfold. and we have an animation explaining the dynamics involved. of course you need moisture from the gulf of mexico, but overlaid in the mid layers of the atmosphere, you need dry, cool air. those conditions usually converge over the plain states traditional tornado alley or even dixie alley, east of the mississippi. we're seeing an eastward trend to some of the most severe tornadoes. the winds increase as you rise through the atmosphere. this creates horizontal wind sheer, think of it as horizontal tubes of air. when you have a thunderstorm, an intense updraft that, thunderstorm is able to focus the horizontal sheer about a vertical axis. and like an ice skater who brings her arms in and spins
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faster, you have all this moisture and energy being focused around this vertical axis. in a typical thunderstorm, it usually snuffs itself out within about 30 to 45 minutes, but in these super cell thunderstorms, they tilt over slightly due to wind changes. so instead of dying out after 45 minutes, it goes on hour after hour and you have enormous amounts of energy focusing right around the central core. and a rear flank down draft pulls this whole circulation down to the ground and we have a tornado. out of a hundred thunderstorms, chris, maybe one or two will ever go on to produce a tornado. that's the good news. they are exceedingly rare. the odds of seeing an f-5
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probably comparable to winning the powerball lotto. the fact that moore has seen major tornadoes since 1999 is unheard of. but oklahoma is the heart of tornado alley. they've had 13 ef-5s just since 1902 in the state of oklahoma. oklahomans are incredibly tornado aware, they know what to do. my nightmare scenario is what if certainly like that hits in nashville, chicago, atlanta or washington d.c. there was an ef-3 tornado that hit in maryland. yes, tornado alley sees the most on dose but we're seeing an apparent eastward shift from dixie alley and even hoosier alley. we don't know if that's a
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manifestation of climate change, as we discussed yesterday. no sound science yet that a warmer atmosphere necessarily means more severe tornadoes. yes, it does mean more instability, there's more water vapor, more fuel for these severe thunderstorms. but in a warmer atmosphere, you should have less wind sheer and that would tend to negate some of these other factors. you can't connect the dot, there's no causal connection, but it's something we're going to be watching very carefully. >> that was really a satisfying explanation. the image of my head is this sort of pitching on its axis situation there. that i think i can get my head around. paul douglas, thank you very much. >> thank you, chris. >> amidst of rubble today, the inspiring story of the teachers who shielded their students from danger. >> this is incredible footage
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outside briarwood elementary school just minutes after the tornado struck. we'll talk to a teacher to planned to lay down her life to make sure her students survived. we'll be right back. a lot of people think fiber can do one thing and one thing only... and those people are what i like to call...wrong. metamucil has psyllium, which helps lower cholesterol, promotes digestive health, and helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels. metamucil. 3 amazing benefits, 1 super fiber.
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>> he was so brave. he was so brave. he was so brave. he was so brave. >> that very emotional reunion happened yesterday as parents showed up at the sites of demolished elementary schools in oklahoma hoping to find their children alive. today justified praise is heaped on the teachers who protected the lives of these children. i'll speak with a fourth grade teacher who gave no second thought to putting her life on the line. that's next. ♪ [ male announcer ] how do you engineer a true automotive breakthrough? ♪ you give it bold styling, unsurpassed luxury and nearly 1,000 improvements. the redesigned 2013 glk. see your authorized mercedes-benz dealer for exceptional offers through mercedes-benz financial services. through mercedes-benz
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our prayers are with the people of oklahoma today. our gratitude is with the teachers who gave their all to shield their children with the neighbors, first responders and emergency personnel who raced to help as soon as the tornado passed and with all of those who as darkness fell searched for survivors through the night. >> that was president obama this morning acknowledging the courageous efforts of rescue workers and ordinary citizens most notably the teachers. plaza towers elementary school and briarwood elementary school. oklahoma officials do not know how many students were in the two elementary schools when they suffered a direct hit from the storm. all of the students at briarwood have been accounted for. however, at least seven children at plaza towers elementary were killed. both schools were reduced to rubble and according to oklahoma officials neither school had safe rooms for students and
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teachers to take shelter. nor did the schools have basements. a second grade teacher at briarwood elementary was with seven children when the ceiling collapsed pinning them to the ground. she survived and said her thoughts were on children and keeping them calm. at a nearby day care center, a staff hustled 15 children to two bathrooms draping them with a protective covering and singing songs to keep them calm as the wind ripped the roof off and they remained calm singing "you are my sunshine." maybe the most remarkable story comes from plaza towers elementary where a teacher put herself directly between the kids and the storm. >> i was in a stall with some kids. it started coming down. i laid on top of them. one of my little boys kept saying i love you. please don't die with me. i never thought i was going to die. the whole time i just kept screaming to them, quit worrying. we're fine. we're fine. we're fine. >> joining me now is theresa
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mostier, a fourth agreed teacher at briarwood elementary school. i'm so glad that you are safe and thank you very much for joining us. can you walk us through what that day was like and at what point you knew a tornado was headed your way and what the teachers in the school did and what you did. >> it was a pretty normal day until the afternoon. we knew that we were going to have thunderstorms but it wasn't until the afternoon that we started to realize that they were getting severe and we noticed that the children were starting to be checked out by some of the parents. later on our administrator came across the intercom and told us that we were to start taking tornado precautionary measures and that it was not a drill so that's when we immediately started taking our children and getting them against the wall and going into our precautionary
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tornado measures. >> what are those measures? obviously you drill on them there because tornadoes are common there. what exactly did you do with the students you had? >> we're kind of in a different type of building. we don't have hallways. we have pods. so all we have are inside walls so we get our children up against the inside wall and have them get down on their knees and lower their heads and put their arms over their head and just stay in that position until, you know, up until then it just had been until a drill was over. that's what we do. >> so you have your fourth graders, i believe, against the wall and they are down. are they freaking out? are they scared? did they recognize what's coming? >> yes. you could hear the tornado
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approaching just minutes or seconds, whatever, before it even actually hit the building. it was that loud. so you could hear it approaching. yes, at that point they were crying. they were upset. they were scared. they were very scared. we just all knelt together and i put myself over their bodies and put my arms around them and just held them as tight as i could and just told them, you know, it's going to be okay. i said i promise. it's going to be okay. and we just kept like that until it had passed over and we looked up and the ceiling was gone. cinder blocks were falling on us. pieces of debris. it was horrifying. they were very frightened.
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>> at what point did you realize it was over? well, for one thing when i turned around and looked up, you could see the whole entire sky. there was nothing left of the roof. and just the fact that a lot of debris flying around, the cinder blocks, everything had just kind of settled down and it got really, really quiet as far as the weather went. the children were still very, very upset. it just got very calm after it passed. >> how long have you been a teacher, theresa? >> i've been a teacher for 30 years. >> i got to say a lot of people in the country today are looking at this and reminded of the incredible work that you do. personally and as a member of a profession. i just want to say thank you for what you did.
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>> thank you. and we love those children. love them very, very much. they are very, very brave. >> it really shows. theresa mosier, teacher at briarwood elementary school who survived the storm with her fourth grade class huddled up against an interior wall as the tornado ripped the roof off. thank you for joining us tonight. >> thank you. >> coming up, what happens next for the people in moore who lost everything. we'll find out. you hurt my feelings, todd.
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last night on this broadcast we brought you the interview of a man who survived the storm in their tornado shelter and emerged to find everything destroyed. >> my wife and i worked hard for everything we had. we just now paid off our house. we had no house payment. we were supposed to go tomorrow to sign papers on land to build a new house and that house was collateral for the land purchase so now we're in a position of which direction do we go? >> staff all together wondering what lies ahead for this man and his family?
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what lies ahead for thousands in moore, oklahoma? how do they begin to rebuild. i wonder about their insurance and what does it cover and whether private insurance in the face of catastrophic loss is enough. joining me now is the oklahoma insurance commissioner. thank you for joining us. i guess my first question is what is the general situation of folks living in tornado alley? obviously the insurance industry, homeowners all know this is a possible risk. is insurance required, are most of these folks insured and will they be made whole? >> sure. absolutely. if they have a mortgage, insurance would most likely be required. we've done an educational campaign over the last year in the state of oklahoma to educate folks on the need of insurance after oklahoma's wildfires last year. we found out there was a high percentage of our population in rural areas that did not have insurance and i think it's going to be much different in this case coming through a rural metro area. i think it will be substantially different and i think there will be thousands of claims here and we're going to do our best to make sure oklahomans understand their insurance policies from a consumer perspective and make
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sure insurance companies fulfill promises which they made to oklahomans. and the industry has responded very, very well and we're going to work with them and we're coordinating that effort as we speak. >> you talk about making sure that the companies live up to their obligations. this shows the amount of severe storm related losses this year not including the past week compared to the amount covered by insurance and you see 3.5 billion in total losses in 2 billion covered by insurance and the fear for a lot of folks standing amidst rubble there is about that gap between the two. >> yes. that's going to be -- we're going to have to analyze that. the oklahoma insurance department. we have a very, very fine employee base and i want to say they responded overwhelmingly in the last 24 hours to help folks in the area. our financial team is going to be on top of this looking at this from many, many different angles, working with insurers and consumers to make sure their
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coverage was adequate but also sitting down with them individually one-on-one. we will be here as long as it takes and i have to say i'm proud to be a part of the national insurance commissioners because i've had commissioners reach out from all the states to offer assistance. many states. we're going to need their help but we're going to take care of consumers and we'll do the right thing. just last week oklahoma governor mary fallin passed the oklahoma consumer bill of rights for home and auto. it's a law that codified some very important aspects of our title 36 for consumer protections and i'm very proud of that just passed last week. we're going to do our very best to take care of consumers. >> let me make sure i'm clear here. when we've seen situations in sandy and areas in flood plains, there are federal programs that
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act as sort of backstops and guarantees. what you're operating there with in moore is the private insurance market, right? we're not dealing with state or federal programs that have these folks insured because of the heightened risk for tornado. >> absolutely. in oklahoma we strongly believe in market competition for companies and for consumers to be able to make that best choice to let their feet do the walking with insurance companies to put them in greater control. we're proud of that aspect. behind the scenes we're very proud if we're watching the financial solvency of companies, the oklahoma property and casualty fund is backstop for oklahoma consumers and they've been there a long time and they've done a good job for companies that might become insolvent. again, we believe in free market competition and the insurance companies that do business in the state of oklahoma really when they are competing for business for oklahomans on events like this, we know it's not a matter of if but when we're going to have this happen in oklahoma.
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>> the proof of that performance and results of that market competition come in the wake of disasters on the back end. oklahoma insurance commissioner, thank you very much. appreciate it. >> you're welcome. thank you. coming up, i'll tell you how they were responding to the oklahoma disaster on capitol hill today and why another political fight over disaster relief is already brewing. we'll be right back. but there are some things i've never seen before. this ge jet engine can understand 5,000 data samples per second. which is good for business. because planes use less fuel, spend less time on the ground and more time in the air. suddenly, faraway places don't seem so...far away. ♪ has oats that can help lower cholesterol? and it tastes good? sure does! wow. it's the honey, it makes it taste so...
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have hail damage to both their cars. ted ted is trying to get a hold of his insurance agent. maxwell is not. he's on geico.com setting up an appointment with an adjuster. ted is now on hold with his insurance company. maxwell is not and just confirmed a 5:30 time for tuesday. ted, is still waiting. yes! maxwell is out and about... with ted's now ex-girlfriend. wheeeee! whoo! later ted! online claims appointments. just a click away on geico.com. [ both laughing ] but our plants were starving. [ man ] we love to eat. we just didn't know that our plants did, too. then we started using miracle-gro liquafeed every two weeks.
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the vote in the senate judiciary committee was not close. 13-5. three republicans joined the panel's ten democrats to vote for the bill. in an emotional moment, patrick leahy of vermont announced he would not call for a vote on amendment that would have recognized marriages of same-sex spouses in immigration law. the measure will head to the senate floor without that amendment meaning no protection for same-sex spouses. on tuesday minority leader mitch mcconnell said he will not block the immigration proposal from being debated from the full senate. john boehner offered his condolences to people in moore ordering flags being flown at half-staff and then it was back to business as usual. >> whether it's benghazi, irs, justice department investigating journalists, the congress of the united states and the american people need to know what the truth is to hold this
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administration accountable. >> over on the senate side, the political conversation turned to how we pay for things like disaster relief which ultimately is through our taxes. the senate finance committee holding the first hearings on the targeting of conservative groups, commissioner steven miller of the irs got to spend his last day on the job getting grilled by a room full of lawmakers. tim cook depended his company's tax practices before a senate subcommittee. a blockbuster report from that subcommittee found that apple holds billions of dollars offshore in irish subsidiaries to avoid paying little or no taxes to any government. cook telling the committee we pay all of the taxes we owe, every single dollar. that is precisely the problem. senator rand paul taking a page out of the joe barton page book offered an apology to the giant for what he characterized as big
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government bullying. >> frankly, i'm offended by the tone and tenor of this hearing. i'm offended by a $4 trillion government bullying, berating and badgering one of america's greatest success stories. if anyone should be on trial here, it should be congress. i frankly think the committee should apologize to apple. >> meanwhile, senator john mccain took the opportunity to turn the hearing into an impromptu genius bar appointment. >> i want to ask why i have to keep updating apps on my iphone all the time. why don't you fix that? >> we're trying to make them better all the time. >> amen, senator. the next political battle, the fight over disaster relief. will the gop demand federal relief money be upset by other
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let's look up some taco places. i like the left side. yeah? okay, do we need to find out what the waves are like down at the beach? what side do you like better? i like the results on the right. i'm gonna go with the one on the left. oh! bing won! people prefer bing over google for the web's top searches. don't believe it? go to bingiton.com and see what you're missing. >> that was totally different. they had things in virgin islands and fixes roads there and put roofs on houses in washington d.c. everybody was getting in and exporting the tragedy that took place. that won't happen in oklahoma. >> that was senator jim inhofe who voted against a bill to provide aid for hurricane sandy disaster relief, explaining differences between sandy aid and yet to be created aid that oklahoma will undoubtedly need to rebuild. his colleague from oklahoma,
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senator tom coburn said disaster aid funding must be offset by cuts in the budget elsewhere. his office said if an additional emergency aid package is necessary, dr. coburn will not change his position. there's a question about how disaster relief will function in a state with two senators who have been outspoken about denying disaster relief to other states in the very recent past. let's bring in oklahoma state representative mark mcbride who represents moore. with me in new york i have steve ellis from taxpayers for common sense. representative mcbride, let me begin with you. what do you need there in moore? what are your expectations of what the federal government can provide to help you folks rebuild? >> you know, i don't really know. i was in a motorcade with our
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congressmen and senators from d.c. they all flew in today. i know that congressman cole had spoke with the president twice today and he assured him that he was going to take care of us and in what manner i'm not sure. that's on their level. i look to them for getting that aid for us. i know the president did declare five oklahoma counties. in oklahoma one of the things about oklahoma is we pull together. i can think of $10 million just in the last five or six hours that i know that was contributed by some different oil companies and different things. so that's just the beginning. we'll step up to the plate and we like to take care of our own but we can also use that money plus the house passed a bill today. i wasn't able to get there today. $45 million out of our rainy day fund. >> do you have expectations about how the senate delegation from oklahoma if confronted with a bill that doesn't offset the spending, how would that play
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among your constituents if senator coburn were to vote against an aid package that would help oklahoma because it wasn't offset? >> like i said, i was just with them. i know that they're trying to get some funding in here, some federal money. it's federal aid and i just know the conversations i've had with them. i don't see them really voting against it. >> that will be exactly the interesting test because senator inhofe was comparing the sandy aid package. i want to say to folks watching this network that part of what he said about sandy aid package was true. it did have a lot of stuff in there. some was mitigation projects which are reasonably included. some of it a little less germane to the disaster relief. it's very hard for me to imagine a situation in which the disaster bill that gets brought
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to the floor for this disaster doesn't have a lot of other stuff in it. >> it certainly has been the history. i would say that sandy because of some of the spending pressures and really much more robust argument for offsetting it had even less than i had seen in the past and i have been looking at disaster bills for well over a decade. i think that there's going to be a lot of pressure because these are part of the only pieces of legislation that actually move in congress. if you don't can't a ride on this disaster aid, you might not have anything to catch a ride on the rest of congress. >> you made the point to me that the congress is so dysfunctional, that the budget control act imposed such intense austerity that if you have something you want funded, this is kind of your one shot. >> absolutely. if you look at just even the
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regular spending bills we did a continuing resolution for the majority of the spending bills so we extended 2012 levels. when you look at the senate budget and house budget, they're radically different. it's hard to see how they'll come together on any kind agreement. this becomes a natural vehicle and it's going to attract flies. >> state rep mcbride, obviously you have rebuilt before in moore 14 years ago. how did that process work? i read something today about how you just got back to about the same level of housing units after the full net was counted for after the last round of destruction. how important a role did federal or state aid play in that rebuilding? >> well, i wasn't here. i wasn't involved in that. my father was a builder and developer, and he was involved in rebuilding moore. you know, you're asking me about something i just wasn't involved in. i wasn't here. i don't know how the federal money played out. you know, i heard you guys talking about some stuff hidden in the bills and everything. if you're going -- tom coburn is going to find anything like that and vote against it. we don't want anything. we don't want anything extra. we just want to rebuild our city
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and whatever they can do for us. they can cough up and whatever they don't, we'll make it up. that's the way we roll here. >> state representative mark mcbride of oklahoma, steve ellis, stay with us. we'll be right back with congressman jefferies who went through that sandy funding battle after this. so we e could headad back to thehe dealershihip. [ [ male annououncer ] it's p practicallyly yours. testst dri! bubut we stillll need your s signature.. vovolkswagen s sign then d drie is back.k. and d it's neverer been easisir to get a j jetta. that's t the power of german n engineerining. get $0 dowown, $0 due at t signing, $ $0 dep, anand $0 firstst month's p pt on any n new volkswawagen. visit vwdedealer.com t today. big time taste should fit in a little time cup. new single serve cafe collections from maxwell house now available for use in the keurig k-cup brewer. always good to the last drop. yeah...
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>> these kind of weather disasters are new in history and. they're predictable. it's not a question about whether but when a community is going to get hit. one of the reasons we try to be sympathetic to people in other parts of the country when they are happy to work for sandy relief, for instance, and i was talking to people from new york. and i almost wish i hadn't said
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this. i was visiting with a representative of the governor, we'll always be there to help because we're one tornado away from being joplin. i didn't think it would be quite that soon. >> that's tom cole who represents the area struck by the tornado yesterday speaking to my colleague chris matthews. we're talking about disaster relief in the wake of moore, oklahoma. i want to bring in hakeem jeffries. congressman, i want to play for you this bit of sound from senator coburn or read this to you. senator coburn saying it's insensitive to talk about offsets. it's insensitive to talk about it now showing crassness of washington versus sensitivity we need to have. what's your sense about whether offsets will be demanded on this and whether they should be? >> it's my hope that offsets won't be demanded. we went through this as it relates to superstorm sandy and it was highly problematic. the federal congressional response to disasters have got
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to be three things. they have to be swift. they have to be compassionate. and they've got to be thorough. as it relates to superstorm sandy the federal government was a day late and a dollar short. that was unfortunate. it set us back because of the offset discussion we weren't able to move forward on an expedited basis. we are hopeful on the democratic side of the aisle to make sure as it relates to this disaster we can get the relief necessary to the people in oklahoma as swiftly and thoroughly as possible to help them get through the recovery phase and then of course the rebuilding after the humanitarian issues have been dealt with. >> steve, you track this stuff. do you agree with the congressman. you are shaking your head a little bit. >> i don't agree that the delay had impact on the money that went on the ground. you have a disaster relief fund like we do now. it's $12 billion. >> hold up right there.
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explain to me. every time you see this in your inbox or the president signed an emergency disaster declaration and oklahoma is the third highest number of disaster declaration after texas and california, what does that mean in real terms before we even get to congress? >> basically you have the local government says we can't handle this it's so big. they go to the governor. the governor says i can't handle this it's too big and then they request the president make a major disaster declaration. fema sifts through it because some are on the margin some are clear answers like this one. exactly. and then the president makes the major disaster declaration and that's when federal funds start flowing. that's when money starts moving into the region and flows so there is $12 billion today in the disaster relief fund that's available for the president to start sending through fema to the area. same thing happened with sandy. i just point out and i don't want to relitigate sandy or whatever.
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the president didn't even request any money, didn't submit any requests to the congress until early december more than a month after the disaster happened because there is this money available. >> congressman, was the money flowing quick enough, fast enough and getting into the right hands in the wake of sandy because the president signed that declaration? >> well, the big issue, chris, was the fact that the national flood insurance program had run out of money so there were claims that had been filed and people legitimate policy holders who were seeking relief based on the policies they held but fema made clear there wasn't sufficient funding to process existing claims and those that would be anticipated. that created a backlog. that created complications on the ground. it's inaccurate to say the delay did not have complications. it had real complications for the people i represent in communities like coney island and manhattan beach and howard beach that weren't impacted by
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the storm. >> just to get to the point though about in this context and there was money that went on flood insurance separately ahead of sandy. as we get to this discussion of offsets whether there will be delay because of delay over offsets. there is money and there have been arguments about offsets over the year. only one disaster bill, the investigative arm of congress that has actually been offset. it was actually after oklahoma in 1995. >> that's an amazing detail. here's what i want to get to you, congressman and steve, we've talked about this. billions of dollars from damages from extreme weather events that are becoming more frequent. paul douglas says we don't have science to link tornado severity to climate but you can see we're
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going up. we're seeing more disasters. we're seeing more expensive tornadoes because of building in areas that formerly were rural. what should we be doing differently with our disaster relief? >> we should be spending more money when we don't have a disaster to try to mitigate and to move people out of harm's way and to encourage that. we should reorientate our disaster warning systems that incentivize states to have relief funds. the more you have in building codes and more you have in things that will help you out and also help the taxpayers out that we're not bearing as much of the burden. those type of changes would actually have a really big impact and would make those disaster relief dollars go farther. >> steve ellis of taxpayers for common sense and congressman hakeem jeffries, thank you very much.
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really appreciate it. >> thank you. a final note with some more breaking news from moore, oklahoma, tonight. nbc news confirmed the names of two of the victims of yesterday's tornado. the body of a 65 year old was recovered today. he became separated from his wife when the tornado struck their home and his family tells nbc news his wife survived and earlier today nbcnews.com confirmed the death of a 9-year-old girl. she was found in the plaza towers elementary school. that is "all in" for this evening. the rachel maddow show starts now. >> evening chris. thank you. it's been a long hard day in the suburbs of oklahoma city. the confirmed death toll for yesterday's massive tornado in moore, oklahoma, is 24 and nine of those victims are children. the reason for the smaller death toll compared to what we were told last night is that authorities say many of the victims were inadvertently counted twice last night in the chaos of the tornado's immediate aftermath.
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even with the lower number today, authorities are still cautioning they expect the overall death toll may still rise if more victims are found. all night long last night and all throughout the day today emergency responders have been combing through the debris block by block, car by car. you can see markings they use. orange x means no victims inside this vehicle. emergency crews can move on. in terms of whether or not there's hope for finding anybody else alive, the fire chief in moore, oklahoma, today said he is 98% sure that there are no more survivors to recover. he says that every damaged home in the city has been searched at least once already. he says the fire chief's goal is to have three searches of every destroyed property just to be 100% sure that no one has been left behind. >> we are out. we started with a primary search yesterday and secondary search. we made it through most of the structures, most of the vehicles, most of the homes, the ones tha d

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